How to Cook Lentils

This post is all about How to Cook Lentils! Perfectly cooked lentils should be tender, without falling apart, and well-seasoned. This tutorial walks you through our two favorite cooking methods for green and brown lentils, along with all the best tips for making them!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Yields about 2-1/2 cups
Cook Time 20 minutes

Total Time 25 minutes
Author: [get-the-author]


For Lentils in the Instant Pot:

  • 1 cup lentils, picked through and rinsed
  • 2 cups water or broth
  • 1 bay leaf or 3 sprigs of thyme (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)

For Lentils on the Stove:

  • 1 cup lentils, picked through and rinsed
  • 2 cups water or broth, more as needed
  • 1 bay leaf or 3 sprigs of thyme (optional)
  • 1 shallot, peeled (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)


How to Cook Lentils in the Instant Pot:

  1. Add lentils, water and herbs (if using) to the liner of an Instant Pot.
  2. Close the lid and set to sealing. Cook on manual high pressure for 5 minutes with a natural release of 5 minutes. Then release any remaining pressure. Discard herbs.
  3. Immediately transfer lentils to a strainer, to strain and excess liquid (there might not be any). Place drained lentils in a bowl, and season with salt. 
  4. If serving lentils as is, gently stir in some oil, ground black pepper and additional fresh herbs, if desired.

To Cook Lentils on the Stove:

  1. Add lentils, water, herbs and shallot (if using) to a medium pot. Turn on heat and bring lentils to a rolling boil. 
  2. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to let simmer gently for 20-30 minutes until lentils are tender but not mushy. Occasionally check lentils to see if the water has evaporated, adding more water as needed. 
  3. Remove from heat, discard herbs and shallot (if using) and strain lentils. Place lentils in a bowl and add salt
  4. If serving as a side dish, add olive oil, and additional seasonings such as black pepper and fresh herbs, as desired.


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